Maintaining Trees and Shrubs

Maintaining Trees and Shrubs

Maintaining trees and shrubs helps keep them healthy, encourage the best kind of growth and instead of having it die out prematurely, you can help promote longevity. It just takes some good soil support and occasional pruning.

In Ireland, it’s often best to have well-drained soil. Especially for younger trees. Though it may mean your burgeoning trees need to be checked on more frequently in the rare hot summer weeks. So with a newly planted tree, it’s good to check it twice a week. And if you have newly growing trees in heavier clay soil it’s okay to check in on it once a week.

Is watering necessary?

During dry periods even a well-established tree will benefit from some care. When you’re watering trees, it’s good to soak the area directly under the tree and anywhere up to six feet away from the tree, since the roots will spread quite a distance (up to one and a half times the height of the tree). The same goes with shrubs, water directly under but several feet under the area around the shrubs.

Mulching is a great way to protect the root systems around trees and shrubs. An eight-centimetre layer of shredded bark or wood chips. You could use mulch made from a wood shredder. This can really help during the hotter periods (as rare as they are!) as it allows the soil to conserve moisture. And because there aren’t grasses and other smaller plants and weeds competing around the trees and shrubs for moisture, you give your younger growing trees a better chance to flourish.

Maintaining trees and shrubs: Pruning

The type of pruning necessary depends on the type of tree and the appearance you’re looking for. It’s generally a good time to prune in the end of autumn and the start of spring. It gives the trees time to heal and allows new growth in spring. If you prune in the summer (after the growing season) you will reduce the leaf surface and slow growth for that year. If you want to increase the flowering on something like a blossom tree, prune in the spring after the flowers have faded and the leaves have formed fully. For summer blooming trees, it’s best to prune and shear in the winter or early spring. Dead, diseased or broken branches and leaves should be cut immediately as they are going to take the nutrients from the healthy parts of your tree.

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